Mastering the Art of Constructive Feedback for Better Performance

Understanding the Importance of Constructive Feedback

When giving feedback, it’s essential to keep in mind that the goal is to help the person receiving it. They should be able to use the feedback to make improvements in their performance.

The most effective approach is to emphasize areas for growth rather than focusing on negative criticism.

As leaders, our responsibility is to consistently offer constructive feedback, enabling individuals to learn and develop.

If we are not providing constructive feedback then we are just being negative and it’s unlikely that the person we are supposed to be coaching will feel that we are being helpful or supportive.

We can only develop people with constructive feedback. That doesn’t mean we should shy away from giving hard messages, it just means that we should look to make the process as positive as possible. If the process is positive it’s more probable that the coaching might work.

The Difference Between Constructive and Negative Criticism

Just recently I heard someone providing feedback to their staff, telling them how stupid they looked when they were giving a presentation.

That’s not feedback, that’s just being hurtful.

How does the person benefit from that feedback? They don’t know what it was they did that they could do better, nor did they receive any advice on how to improve.

I had a similar situation with one of my staff. So a day or so after their presentation I had a chance to speak with them.

Instead, when discussing their presentation, I asked questions to help them identify their own areas for improvement.

They admitted they were nervous and fidgeting, which impacted the audience’s concentration. By relating to their experience, I shared my own strategies for handling nerves, such as thorough preparation, practising pacing, and accepting that nerves can lead to a more authentic presentation.

People often know when they’ve made mistakes, and what they need is support and advice. When giving feedback, make the experience as positive as possible by asking questions, seeking their perspective, and offering constructive guidance.

Creating a Positive Environment for Feedback

So in this situation, I had been able to broach the subject in a way that allowed my team member to explain what they thought the problem was and then I had been able to share that I had had the same problem, and what I had done to try and overcome it.

More often than not people know when they have made mistakes or have a problem, they don’t necessarily need us to point it out to them. What they need is support and advice, and they are often much more open to it when they ask for it, rather than when we try to force it upon them.

So the next time you have to give feedback try and make the experience as positive as possible by asking questions, getting their view and providing constructive advice.

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